Poem: The Glen Plaid Suit

Updated on June 5, 2018

The Suit of My Family Legacy

When my mother passed away recently, I went through her closet. And there it was: my glen plaid suit. It was the suit I wore only once to my bar mitzvah, but it was the suit that my mother valued as one of our family artifacts. It was also the suit that I dreaded to wear, even if it was for only one day. But when you're barely 13, one day seemed like a lifetime. I since donated the suit to Goodwill hoping that it would become a legacy for some other family. I often think of what that suit meant to me and how it touched my family. I'm sure when my parents remember me in the afterlife, I'll be wearing that suit, baggy and all.

Poem: The Glen Plaid Suit

When I was thirteen,
I bought a suit
that promised
magical powers.

It would help transform
me into a man,
no longer a boychik
with knobby knees,
my father said.

My father took me
to see the Wizard of Suits
on South Street,
a store of many colors
and fabrics.

The Wizard spoke softly
in a South Philly accent,
“I’ll scratch your back
if you scratch mine.”

My father agreed
and the Wizard spun
a powerful, noble suit
into a double-breasted
glen plaid.

In return my father
gave the Wizard
a satchel of silver
and one of my
least favorite siblings.

The Wizard promised
that if I wear the suit,
I could possess the world
in my hands.

In my heart,
I didn’t believe him.
I’d much rather have
a three-quarter length jacket
in soft black leather.

When the special day arrived,
I wore my magical suit.
It felt heavy and hung loosely
off my feeble body.

The sleeves were too long,
the pants were baggy.
The necktie kept cutting off
my oxygen supply.

I yearned to be in cut-off jeans,
a loose-fitting tee-shirt,
sneakers or a pair of sandals
instead of cordovan wingtips.

I wished I had a Louisville Slugger
instead of a holy book in my hands.
I wished I wore a baseball hat
instead of a skull cap on my head.

But I read the few lines of Hebrew,
did what the rabbi said,
and collected my mitzvah gelt
in sealed envelopes
from all my smiling relatives.

It was the only time,
I wore that magical suit,
a cumbersome suit of armor.
It still hangs on a wire hanger
in my mother’s dusty closet.

Video Poem by Mark Tulin: The Glen Plaid Suit

Questions & Answers

    Comments

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      • Mark Tulin profile imageAUTHOR

        Mark Tulin 

        2 weeks ago from Santa Barbara, California

        Thank you, Shyron. I will.

      • Shyron E Shenko profile image

        Shyron E Shenko 

        2 weeks ago from Texas

        Mark, you have my sympathy for the passing of your mom.

        I can see uncomfortable you

        In you over size magical Glen Plaid suit

        With your wingtip shoes you wanted to fly

        Away from there where things fit just right

        Not to lose and not to tight

        But, treasure those memories of just one night.

      • Mark Tulin profile imageAUTHOR

        Mark Tulin 

        2 months ago from Santa Barbara, California

        thank you, manatita.

      • manatita44 profile image

        manatita44 

        2 months ago from london

        Nice suit; cute memories.

        At least you wrote a poem about it. You read well. Cool!

      • Mark Tulin profile imageAUTHOR

        Mark Tulin 

        2 months ago from Santa Barbara, California

        Thank you, Tim. You’re dead on about growing into our suits as we grow older. I’m certainly getting comfortable in mine. Thank your for the comment as always.

      • Tim Truzy info4u profile image

        Tim Truzy 

        2 months ago from U.S.A.

        Wonderful, Mark.

        I read your poem twice and listened to the reading.

        Memorable. I thought about the first time I wore a suit I wished I would never see again, and smiled.

        You captured the feelings of youth and I could see myself smiling with your family, while you would secretly rather be swinging a baseball bat.

        I have some very good Jewish friends and I will encourage them to read your poem.

        Thinks for the memories, and may you have peace.

        Our suits (skin, emotions, mental abilities, etc.) eventually grow to fit us from youth to adulthood. Your parents dressed you well.

        Sincerely,

        Tim

      • Mark Tulin profile imageAUTHOR

        Mark Tulin 

        2 months ago from Santa Barbara, California

        I am definitely aware of its importance more now than when I was a kid, Hari. Thanks for the read.

      • shprd74 profile image

        Hari Prasad S 

        2 months ago from Bangalore

        Cool poetry and recitation too. Mark it's a traditional wear i suppose, so it must be important that you wrote a poetry.

        - hari

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